Kapoor is considered to be the best brand name in Bollywood as they have been serving this industry for five generations. Kapoor family have acted, directed or produced in the Bollywood industry, starting from Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor to Prithviraj Kapoor to Raj Kapoor to Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Rajiv Kapoor to Karishma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and now Ranbir Kapoor. If the history is unfolded, there comes Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor (Prithviraj’s father), a retired Sub Inspector of Police in Peshawar (now in Pakistan), who also did a cameo role in his grandson Raj Kapoor’s film, Awara and thus the Kapoors have to date five generations involved in Indian film industry. Of the Kapoo’s family, the first to join films was Prithviraj Kapoor who had been so much passionate about acting since childhood. He always wanted to be an actor but never uttered a word about this reality in front of his family members, as no one was in this business in entire family. But finally he broke the ice and entered the film world and vanquished the flags of his skills in this art.
The Kapoor Family Tree
Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor
Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor, Prithviraj’s father, a retired Sub Inspector in Peshawar, was also to make his mark in films. Not to be left out, he did a cameo role in his grandson, Raj Kapoor’s film, “Awara” and thus the Kapoors have to date 5 generations involved in the Cinema world.
Prithviraj Kapoor (3 November 1906 – 29 May 1972) was a noted pioneer of Indian theatre and of the Hindi film industry. Prithviraj Kapoor was born in a middle class landlord family in Samundari, a district of the industrial township of Lyallpur (later renamed Faisalabad), Punjab, now in Pakistan. His father was a Sub Inspector of Police in Peshawar. Prithviraj completed his schooling at Lyallpur and Lahore and then he got admission in Edward College, Peshawar. At age 18 Prithviraj married the 15 year old Ramsarni Mehra, in a match that was arranged by their families. He did graduation from Edward College and then joined a one-year programme of Law. And at last there came a time when Prithviraj gathered courage to pursue his career in acting. He finally decided to walk on the toughest pavements of acting. He took a loan from his aunt and left Peshawar. The days were cold. And Prithviraj continued his travel for Bombay (now Mumbai) in the winter of 1928. Prithviraj’s wife Rama Prithviraj Kapoor was born on 25 December 1908. Soon she lost her parents in the early days of her life. Rama joined Prithviraj in Bombay in the year 1930. Soon Prithviraj set up a drama company, Prithviraj Theaters. There used to be at least 80 members in this company traveling together like a huge family in a third class compartment of train with loads and loads of stage equipment. This drama company was Prithviraj’s first love and meant every thing for him. Soon the company recruited new passionate actors and the figure touched to almost 125 members.
The two (Prithviraj and his wife) were suffering from cancer. Prithviraj said goodbye to the world on 29 May 1972 whereas exactly 16 days from the demise of her husband, Rama Kapoor passed away on 14 June 1972. They left behind them Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor and a daughter.
Raj (Ranbirraj) Kapoor (December 14, 1924 – June 2, 1988), a legendary name in the Indian film industry, was the eldest son of Prithviraj and Rama Kapoor. He was born in Peshawar. As Prithviraj Kapoor was on the move, his (Raj’s) basic education took place at different locations i.e. he studied in Peshawar, then did part of his schooling in Calcutta and eventually failed to get a form to appear for the Matric examination in Bombay’s Antonia D’ Souza High School. Raj started sailing across the waves of acting and filmmaking. Raj devoted and immersed himself fully to learn the difficult genres of filmmaking in all departments as an assistant. In 1944, he joined Prithviraj’s Theaters and was assigned the duty to handle all that happened backstage right from the lighting of the sets and sound effects and music to art direction. Then he also acted in plays organized by Prithviraj Theaters. As a hero, Raj Kapoor’s first film was Neel Kamal. In 1946, at the age of twenty-two, Raj Kapoor was wed to Krishna Malhotra belonging to Jabalpur in a traditional family-arranged wedding. Krishna was a distant relative of Raj’s being his father’s maternal uncle’s daughter. RK Films, his own production company, came into being in 1947 with his first directorial venture, Aag. Thus there started a long journey of filmmaking. And Raj made Barsat, Awara and many other films of good repute. His most noticeable films as a filmmaker are: Sangam, Mera Naam Joker, Raam Teri Ganga Maile, Laila Majnu, Thokar, Miss Coca Cola and many others. Raj Kapoor suffered from asthma in his later years; he died of complications related to asthma in 1988 at sixty-three years of age.
Shammi (Shamsherraj) Kapoor was born on October 21, 1931 in Mumbai. He was the second son of son of Prithviraj and Rama Kapoor. The majority of his most successful pictures were made in the late 1950s and 1960s. Shammi Kapoor studied at the New Era School from where he did his Matric. After a short and sweet stay at the Ruia college, he joined his father on the stage in his theatrical company “Prithvi Theatres” as a junior artiste in 1948 on a salary of Rs.50/ per month. he stayed with the theatre till 1952, his last paycheck being Rs.300/. Shammi got married in 1955 to a famous film heroine, Geeta Bali who died of small pox, leaving him with two small children during the filming of Teesri Manzil. Geeta gave birth to two children named Aditya Raj (son) and Kanchan (daughter). In 1969, he again married Neila Devi. Among his famous films are: Tesri Manzil, Tum Sa Nahin Dekha, Baramchari and Pagla Kahin Ka. He acted in a number of films and gave appearances on T.V plays too.
Shashi (Balbirraj Kapoor) Kapoor born on March 18, 1938 in Calcutta, is an Indian film actor and producer and a member of the famous Kapoor family, an influential film dynasty in India’s Bollywood cinema. He is the younger brother of Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor, the son of Prithviraj Kapoor. Shashi emerged on silver screen as a talented actor. He gave numerous hits being a romantic face hero. In July, 1958, he married the British actress Jennifer Kendal and they acted in a number of films together, most notably in the Merchant Ivory productions. He had three children with Kendal; Karan Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor and Sanjana Kapoor all of whom for a short while became film actors. Kendal died of cancer in 1984.
Randhir Kapoor was born on 15 February 1947. Dabboo, as he is popularily known is the eldest son of Raj Kapoor. He is a fourth generation Kapoor and comes from a distinguished family who have been part of the industry for many years. Randhir Kapoor made his acting and directorial debut with Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971) which also starred his wife, father and grandfather. The film was produced under the R.K banner and was an average success. After the 1984 film Khazana he quit acting and took to producing and directing. In 1991 he directed the film Henna which was at first directed by his father but he died during the production of the film and Randhir completed the film for him. He earned a Filmfare nomination as Best Director. Randhir got married to a leading actress of the film industry, Babita. Randhir and Babita gave birth to daughters, Karishma and Kareena. Babita was active in the movie industry until the time of her wedding. The Kapoor family tradition mandated her withdrawal from film upon marriage. After some time, they separated and Babita took their daughters with her. They did not get back together, and lived separately. Despite the Kapoor family tradition, Babita encouraged her daughters to become film stars and to indulge in controversial western costumes (which were thought to be scandalous in prior years).
Rishi Kapoor better known as Chintoo Kapoor was born on September 4, 1952 in Mumbai. He is the second son of famous film director and star Raj Kapoor. His brothers are well-known actors: Randhir Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor. Rishi is the paternal uncle of today’s actresses Karisma Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. Mr. Rishi Kapoor is the proud father of Ranbir Kapoor. Rishi married actress Neetu Singh, with whom he had several hit movies, in 1980. They have two children named Ranbir Kapoor and Ridhima Kapoor. Mr. Kapoor first debuted in his father’s 1970 film Mera Naam Joker, playing his father’s role as a child. As a hero, his first film was Boby in 1973, opposite Dimple Kapadia under the production of his father, which became an instant hit with youngsters. After the stupendous success of Boby, Rishi gave hits like Raffoo Chakkar, Khel Khel Mein, Laila Majnu and Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin. Sargam and Karz were his other magnificent hits, which made him a household name in India. He has since then appeared in hundreds of movies. He played the lead role romancing young heroines till the year 2000 with the delayed release of Karobaar: The Business of Love.
Rajiv Kapoor known as Chimpu Kapoor was born 25 August 1962. He is the youngest son of famous actor/director Raj Kapoor. He had a short stint in the Hindi film industry, acting in only 13 films. He was not as successful as his other brothers Randhir and Rishi, but he is noted for his role in Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985) starring opposite Mandakini which was one of the biggest hits of the year. He acted in a string of other unsuccessful films and made his last film appearance in Zimmedaar which released in 1990. He then turned to producing and directing. As a filmmaker, he made Prem Granth featuring brother Rishi Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. Besides, he made some other box office hits too. In 2001, he tied the knot with Delhi based girl Aarti Sabharal an architect, but the marriage ended in divorce two years later.
Karisma Kapoor, nicknamed “Lolo” was born on 25 June 1974 in Mumbai. Making her film debut in 1991, Kapoor went on to become one of the most popular actresses of her generation. During her career years, she has been part of many commercially and critically successful films, Raja Hindustani being the most notable of them, as it was one of the biggest hits of its decade, and won Kapoor her first Filmfare Best Actress Award. She surprised critics and audiences with her performances in art films such as Fiza (2000) and Zubeidaa (2001), for which she earned a Best Actress and Best Actress (Critics) awards at the Filmfare ceremony. Since then, she has worked in several films though most of them performed poorly at the box office. On 29 September 2003, she married industrialist Sanjay Kapur, CEO of Sixt India. In typical Kapoor tradition, Karisma was married at her grandfather, the late Raj Kapoor’s home, R K Cottage. The couple opted for an hour-long Sikh ceremony. The couple has one daughter named Samaira, who was born on 11 March 2005. After the birth of her daughter, there was considerable rift between her and her husband. The couple has subsequently patched-up.
Kareena Kapoor Bebo was born September 21, 1980. Following her star sister Karishma Kapoor’s footsteps, Kareena decided to try her hand at acting and proved the fact that she belongs to Kapoor family. After schooling, Kareena joined Mithibhai College to do commerce in Mumbai. In between eleventh and twelfth, she went to Harvard University in USA to do short courses in microcomputers and information technology. Then she joined a drama school and did a course of short duration over there. Upon completion of the courses, she made her way back to home and finished her twelfth. Then Kareena went to her dream island, Bollywood. Making her acting debut with Refugee (2000), for which she won a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award, Kareena Kapoor had her first commercial success with her second release, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai. Later that year, she was noticed for her performance in Karan Johar’s melodrama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which became India’s top-grossing film in the overseas market that year and her biggest commercial success to date. Now the road towards success was smooth for Kareena, though the Kapoor name was there but she actually made her way with her remarkable skills of acting. Today she has many hits to her credit i.e. Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai, Ajnabi, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Yadeen. Lovely Kareena is now the center of attraction of every filmmaker of Bollywood from JP Dutta to Subash Ghai, Karan Johar to Abbas-Mustan. In 2007, Kareena Kapoor earned her first Filmfare Best Actress Award for her performance in the commercially successful comedy-romance Jab We Met. Despite not having that many hits to her credit, Kareena Kapoor has established herself as one of the leading actresses of Bollywood.
Ranbir Kapoor was born on September 28, 1982 in Mumbai. He is the son of actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh. Kapoor made his debut in November 2007 with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya opposite newcomer Sonam Kapoor. The film failed to do well at the box office, though he received many positive reviews for his portrayal of the lovesick singer, Ranbir Raj. Critic, Taran Adarsh commented, “Ranbir Kapoor is supremely talented, no two opinions on that. Yes, he looks handsome, but what you carry home is the sincerity in his performance. If that’s the [high] level of performance in his debut film, this lad will only make the Kapoor clan proud in years to come. It’s a 10 on 10 for this debutante. Kapoor is currently filming for Siddharth Anand’s Bachna Ae Haseenon along with Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone and Minissha Lamba.